Galadriel in armor in The Rings of Power.

An Unexpected Journey

Who plays Sauron in LOTR: The Rings of Power? 3 characters to watch

Let’s talk about Rings of Power’s biggest mystery.

In the months leading up to the premiere of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Amazon has done its absolute best to keep as many details about the series under wraps as possible. That includes which actor will play Sauron, Middle-earth’s second Dark Lord, in the Lord of the Rings prequel. As of now, J.R.R. Tolkien fans still don’t know even when or how Sauron will show up in The Rings of Power.

That doesn’t mean, however, fans don’t have some theories about Sauron’s identity in the Amazon series. In fact, quite the opposite. Heading into the show’s premiere this coming Friday, here are the three characters in The Rings of Power Season 1 that Lord of the Rings fans believe could secretly be Sauron.

3. The Stranger (Daniel Weyman)

Daniel Weyman as The Stranger in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Prime Video

Daniel Weyman’s The Stranger has been heavily featured in the early promotional materials for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. His apparent arrival in Middle-earth via meteor has even led to him being unofficially known among Tolkien fans as “Meteor Man.”

Amazon has, notably, worked hard to keep The Stranger’s true identity a secret, but Lord of the Rings fans are pretty sure he’s either one of the Istari (i.e. wizard) — namely, Gandalf or one of the Blue Wizards — or Sauron himself. His clearly supernatural powers do suggest that he’s a Maia, and convincing the peoples of Middle-earth that he’s been sent by a divine force does seem like the kind of manipulative move Sauron would try to pull.

Then again, he could also be Tom Bombadil. That’d certainly be a twist, wouldn’t it?

2. Halbrand (Charlie Vickers)

Charlie Vickers as Halbrand in Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Prime Video

When it was initially announced that Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) was going to spend part of The Rings of Power’s first season hanging out with a mysterious castaway named Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), Tolkien fans were quick to begin speculating that the latter may secretly be Sauron in disguise. While that possibility seems less likely now than it did originally, it hasn’t been totally eliminated.

After all, having Galadriel unknowingly befriend the very Dark Lord she’s spent years searching for would be a bit of particularly cruel dramatic irony. Whether that ends up happening in The Rings of Power remains to be seen, but revealing that Halbrand has secretly been Sauron all along would be an impactful way to announce Sauron’s reemergence in Middle-earth.

1. Adar (Joseph Mawle)

Joseph Mawle will appear as Adar in Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.Prime Video

Of all the characters in The Rings of Power, few have been as notably absent from the show’s early trailers as Adar (Joseph Mawle). The character is expected to be the main antagonist of The Rings of Power’s first season, and the brief glimpses we’ve gotten of him have indicated he’s likely the figure who is leading the show’s growing army of orcs.

The early images and shots we’ve seen of him also suggest that Adar is a corrupted Elf of some kind, which would seemingly eliminate the possibility of him being Sauron. However, Sauron does have shapeshifting capabilities, so there’s no reason why he couldn’t be simply posing as a corrupted Elf in The Rings of Power Season 1.

Sauron briefly appears in the opening prologue of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.New Line Cinema

The Inverse Analysis — Right now, it doesn’t seem like many people do actually know who is playing Sauron in Season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Frankly, we don’t even really know yet if Sauron is even in the Amazon series’ first season. It is, after all, entirely possible that Rings of Power showrunners J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay have chosen to withhold Sauron’s debut until the show’s second season.

However, if Sauron does end up appearing in The Rings of Power Season 1, it seems more likely than not that his debut will be tied, in one way or another, to Halbrand, The Stranger, or Adar.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres Friday, September 2 on Prime Video.